I have come to believe that self-love is the answer to not drinking.
If you loved yourself like you would a child, would you force poison down your own throat?
Dramatic, I know. But true.
I once decided, in a desperate attempt to somehow penetrate the thick fog surrounding my hung-over brain, to perform an experiment on two basil plants on my windowsill. I would water one basil plant, and give the other one only wine.
There was a few inches of warm wine in a glass from the night before. I started to pour the leftover wine into the plant, but then I noticed how beautiful its little green leaves were … how the intricate veins of green wound through the leaf’s surface … how perfect this plant was that had been placed in my care.
And I couldn’t do it. I rinsed the wine out quickly and watered it to wash out what had absorbed in the soil, mentally apologizing to the plant for my complete lapse in judgment.
It wasn’t until years later, when describing this experiment in a meeting, that this occurred to me: I wouldn’t do this to a plant, but I would do it to myself.
I was dumbstruck, but it was true. I wouldn’t get help for myself, as if I didn’t matter. A plant mattered more.
Why was this? I knew it wasn’t always this way. I had changed, and not for the better.
I know now that alcohol’s slow beat of destruction gets you to this point. The step-by-step stripping away of your self worth. It’s sneaky, and if you don’t pay attention, you won’t notice it until it’s done a lot of damage.
I suddenly had an overwhelming compassion for the child that I once was. I felt tremendous love and sadness for myself, for a little girl that once had dreams of doing great things, but first and foremost, wanted to be loved.
How I had betrayed her.
I realized everything had to change. Not just by stopping the flow of poison … I had to change everything about the way I saw myself in the world.
I had to start treating myself like a beloved child. What would I want my daughter to do in a similar situation? I would want her to see her value … what I could see so clearly. I would want her to see the incredible wonderful spirit that she is and do whatever she had to to love herself enough to heal.
And that’s where I am today. Reminding myself what a beloved child of spirit I am, and so worth anything I have to do on my own behalf. To bring myself back from the brink is no less worthy than saving someone else’s life. It’s the bravest and most loving thing I could ever do.